The widespread complaints by voters in Brooklyn on Tuesday have prompted investigations by the state attorney general and the city comptroller. On Thursday, the New York City Board of Elections took swift action and suspended the borough’s top election official, Diane Haslett-Rudiano. Among the many problems plaguing voters on Primary Day, from inadequate staffing to faulty equipment, the most serious was the 125,000 Democratic voters that were purged from the voter rolls prior to the polls opening.
The cleaning up of the roster of voters is pretty standard procedure to try to get an accurate read on the resources needed to accommodate actual voters who might show up by eliminating those who have, say, died or moved away from the area. The election board has confirmed that 125,000 names were removed. The investigation is now trying to determine if it was done properly. There were numerous complaints of registered voters showing up at the polls only to find their names missing. Those voters were forced to cast affidavit ballots.
The New York Daily News is citing multiple unnamed sources reporting that the reason Haslett-Rudiano has been suspended, and will ultimately be fired, is that she botched the maintenance of the voter roll.
The problems began when she was trying to clean up the voting books, which must be periodically purged to eliminate people who die, move or are ineligible for other reasons. Sources said she skipped one of the steps that was built in to stop the system from purging eligible voters, which caused a chain reaction that led to people being improperly removed. Brooklyn lost 102,717 — or 8% — of its active voters from Nov. 1 2015 through April 1, 2016, according to state stats. It’s the only county in the state that lost voters in that time period.
“The administration of the voter rolls in Brooklyn is of major concern to our office and is a focus of our investigation,” New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday.